The evening sky in August and September will feature a terrific display of planets, stars and the moon in an elegant dance just above the horizon shortly after sunset. This interplay of planets is a chance to become familiar with the motions of the planets, particular the closest three (Mars, Venus and Mercury) in stark contrast with the motion of the stars and Saturn. Sky and Telescope has an impressive animation showing the motion of the objects in the evening sky from the start of August until the end of September. The stars move a small distance closer to the horizon every evening of the year, but the planets move from the west toward the east in their orbit around the sun.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog.